Sports ministry drops Sinhala only policy due to protest

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 06 January 2004, 16:31 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s Sports Ministry has decided to award certificates in English language to winners of national level sports competitions organized by the ministry from this year onwards. This change will be strictly adhered to in the 30th National Sports Festival scheduled to be held later this year, ministry sources, said.

The sports ministry high officials in Colombo took this decision following protests by the North East Provincial Sports Ministry and other sports associations in the province against awarding certificates in Sinhala only to Tamil speaking sportspersons, sources said.

Till last year, the sports ministry in Colombo awarded certificates only in the Sinhala language and also conducted the national level competitions in Sinhala without heeding to the protest by Tamil speaking sportspersons who participated from the Tamil dominated northeast province, sources said.

The 29th National Sports Festival held last year in Kurunagala was conducted only in the Sinhala language. Announcements were made in Sinhala, thus causing immense inconvenience to Tamil sportspersons who participated in several events. All speeches were made in Sinhala without translation. Even the certificates awarded to winners were written only in Sinhala, without a word in Tamil or English, sources said.

Most of the Tamil sportspersons in the northeast decided last year not to participate in any national sports competitions or national sports festivals in the future if they were conducted only in Sinhala, sources said.

 

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